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10 things you need to know today: March 14, 2013
Pope Francis gets to work, Obama takes his charm offensive to Capitol Hill, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
President Obama leaves the Capitol after a meeting with the House Republican Conference on March 13.
President Obama leaves the Capitol after a meeting with the House Republican Conference on March 13. Alex Wong/Getty Images

1. POPE FRANCIS TAKES CHARGE IN THE VATICAN
Pope Francis began his first day as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics by praying at St. Mary's Basilica early Thursday, before a scheduled visit to a seaside papal retreat where he was to meet with Emeritus Pope Benedict, who last month became the first pontiff in 600 years to resign. Francis, formerly the archbishop of Buenos Aires named Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, is the first pope born outside Europe in 1,300 years, and the first ever from the Americas. In Argentina, he denied himself luxuries enjoyed by previous cardinals, cooking his own dinners and riding the bus to work. He also frequently visited the city's poorest neighborhoods, and is expected to bring a humble touch and a focus on social outreach to the church as it struggles to move past a period of scandal. [Associated Press, Reuters]
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2. STALEMATE CONTINUES AFTER OBAMA MEETS WITH REPUBLICANS
President Obama took his charm offensive to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, but there was little evidence that his rare meeting with House Republicans had resulted in any progress toward a compromise on reducing the budget deficit. "Republicans want to balance the budget. The president doesn't," House Speaker John Boehner said. "Republicans want to solve our long term debt problem. The president doesn't." Still, Boehner said the hour-long meeting was a "good start." Obama, who meets Thursday with Senate Republicans and House Democrats, said that if the GOP rejects any revenue increases and insists on reducing the deficit only by slashing spending, "then we're probably not going to be able to get a deal." [New York Times]
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3. FLORIDA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR QUITS UNDER A CLOUD
Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll abruptly resigned on Wednesday, a day after she was questioned by investigators about her role in an allegedly corrupt veterans charity. The organization, Allied Veterans of the World, operates internet gambling parlors, but is accused of passing little of its money to veterans. Carroll did consulting work for the charity, and stepped down on the same day 57 people involved in the organization were arrested on racketeering and money laundering charges. Carroll, the first African-American to serve as the state's lieutenant governor, was once a rising GOP star; now, her resignation has delivered an embarrassing setback to her former boss, Gov. Rick Scott, who faces a tough re-election fight. [New York Times, CNN]
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4. SENATE HEARS FROM SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE MILITARY
Survivors of sexual assault in the military on Wednesday urged senators to require independent review of rape cases, instead of leaving authority in the hands of high-ranking officers. There were 2,439 formal reports of sexual assault submitted in 2011, but surveys the same year found that 19,000 instances of sexual harassment or assault went unreported. In the first Senate hearing on the issue in a decade, several survivors said an "old boys club" atmosphere among military officers, who have reversed decisions by military juries in some cases, discourages victims from coming forward. [Los Angeles Times]
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5. CHAVEZ'S BODY WON'T GO ON PERMANENT DISPLAY
Venezuelan leaders are scrapping plans to embalm Hugo Chavez's body for permanent display, because the decision to preserve his body was made too late. "The decision should have been made much earlier," said acting President Nicolas Maduro. "The decision, or really the proposal more than a decision, was made as a product of love." Chavez's body will still go on display at a military museum, although it's not clear for how long. [Telegraph]
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6. POLICE KILL SHOOTING SUSPECT
Police stormed the hideout of the suspect in a deadly shooting spree in upstate New York early Thursday, killing the man after an overnight standoff. Officers say the alleged shooter, Kurt R. Myers, 64, barricaded himself into the building after the attack, which left four people dead and two injured. The attack began when a man walked into John's Barber Shop in Herkimer County, N.Y., and, after a brief exchange, opened fire with a shotgun, killing two people and critically wounding two others; he then moved on to Gaffey's Fast Lube and killed two more. "This is truly an inexplicable situation; there was no apparent, rational motive to the best of our knowledge... to provoke these attacks," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. [New York Times, CNN]
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7. ENGLISH CATHEDRALS FIGHT OVER RICHARD III'S REMAINS
A feud has erupted in England over the remains of King Richard III, which were discovered last year under a parking lot in Leicester, in central England. The 15th-century monarch died in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field, the final engagement in the Wars of the Roses. England's Leicester Cathedral revealed plans Wednesday to rebury Richard III. Officials in the northern English city of York say they want the king's skeleton buried there, because he belonged to the House of York and spent much of his childhood in the region. Since the controversy erupted, the cathedral in York has received "a number of letters about Richard III," some of which were hate mail. [ABC News]
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8. FORMER KHMER ROUGE LEADER DIES BEFORE GENOCIDE VERDICT
Ieng Sary, who co-founded the communist Khmer Rouge regime, died Thursday morning while on trial for genocide, dashing hopes that he would be punished for the deaths of 1.7 million Cambodians in the 1970s. Sary, 87, was the brother-in-law of the late Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, and received internal Khmer Rouge documents detailing torture and mass execution of the regime's suspected enemies, according to the Documentation Center of Cambodia. He was being tried along with two other former Khmer Rouge leaders, both also in their 80s. [Huffington Post]
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9. MAN WHO TAPED ROMNEY'S '47 PERCENT' REMARK GOES PUBLIC
The man who videotaped former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney making his infamous "47 percent" remark revealed his identity on Wednesday. Scott Prouty was tending bar at a Romney fundraiser last May and videotaped the candidate saying that nearly half of voters were dependent on government and "will vote for the president no matter what." Prouty gave the tape to Mother Jones in September, and the comment proved immensely damaging, putting Romney on the defensive for weeks near the election. Prouty said he didn't act out of "a grudge against Romney," but said that he felt the remarks "defined him at a critical point, defined him for exactly who he was." [Reuters]
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10. FIVE-ORGAN TRANSPLANT PATIENT GIVES BIRTH
In a medical first, a woman who received a five-organ transplant has given birth to a healthy baby girl at a Miami hospital. "It's the best feeling in the world," Fatema Al Ansari, a 26-year-old from Qatar, said Wednesday at the same hospital where she was given a new liver, pancreas, stomach, and small and large intestine in 2007. "It's a hard feeling to express." Her doctor said he had searched medical literature and found cases where patients who had received two new organs had given birth, but not five. Just over 600 five-organ transplants had been recorded as of 2011. [Associated Press]

 
Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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